Sadness strikes local GOP headquarters grand opening

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By Carol A. Clark

The death of Rep. Steve Pearce’s father brought a veil of sadness over the official grand opening festivities of the Republican Party headquarters at 1370-A Central Ave. on Monday afternoon.

“I was scheduled to pick up the congressman at the Sunport to bring him here for the grand opening when I got a call at 6:30 this morning saying his father had died,” said longtime party leader Betty Cox. “It’s very sad when you lose a parent and I’m sure he’s more sad that he wasn’t there with his father so let’s all hold him and his family up in prayer.”

Pearce’s father lived in Temple, Texas, Cox said, adding that Pearce said he’d visit the new headquarters as soon as he could.

A barbecue, cake and pie were part of Monday’s event, which included campaign speeches by state legislative candidate Rep. Jeannette Wallace, Los Alamos, Sandoval and Santa Fe counties, and county council candidates Vincent Chiravalle and Sharon Stover.

Wallace expressed her condolences to Pearce and his family. In speaking of the grand opening, Wallace said, “We’re very excited. We have lots of campaign literature and voter registration forms and we hope everyone has a chance to stop by.”

Retired Sen. Steve Stoddard commented that everyone is invigorated, enthusiastic and optimistic about the selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as the running mate for presidential candidate Sen. John McCain. “I’m more optimistic than I was last spring given the slate of Republican candidates we have from top to bottom,” Stoddard said.

Lifetime Republican Jim Barran agreed saying, Palin brings new ideas to the campaign. “I’m very conservative myself and she’s strongly pro-life and always has been,” Barran said. “That’s very important to me and my wife. I’m not a one- 0issue candidate but I always go with the strongest person on defense...I’d vote for Barack Obama but he’s not strong on defense.”

Baran praised state and local candidates as being highly qualified. He especially holds county council candidates in high esteem saying councilors are strictly volunteer. “They work so hard and they get criticized so much,” he said.

Republican Women of Los Alamos President Marie Todd was delighted to see the new headquarters. “We have lots of volunteers and we’re planning to work hard for our candidates to help get them elected in November,” she said.

Former U.S. Rep. Bill Redman also addressed the crowd praising vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and urging them to spread the word that Sen. John McCain is the presidential candidate to vote for in November. “We had a coalition call yesterday and the online donor contributions spiked like never before following McCain’s running mate announcement.”

McCain is scheduled to be at the convention center in Albuquerque Saturday, he said, adding that he didn’t know whether Palin would be with him.

The GOP headquarters will be staffed from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday through the Nov. 4 election. The telephone number is 662-0582